Sundance Institute’s Catalyst program builds a culture of partnership between independent investors and filmmakers. Each year, we endeavor to unlock funding for ambitious new independent films and to grow the community of indie-film supporters.
Catalyst brings together both new and experienced film investors through highly curated film financing opportunities, custom programming, and engagement with the Sundance Institute community. We offer new investors a guided entry into film financing, and we present our entire cohort with exceptional projects, intimate discussions about various aspects of the film business, and personalized support in sourcing projects and developing partnerships with filmmakers.
We train selected filmmakers to effectively present their films for independent financing, and we provide them with continued support throughout the lives of their projects. We also offer Catalyst artists guidance in building successful investor relationships, access to mentorship, and critical project and budgetary feedback. Applications are solicited by invitation only.
Our year-round program includes strategy workshops, artist and industry talks, social events, bespoke film financing opportunities, and the signature Catalyst Forum, which features a curated slate of projects seeking funds. Since its founding in 2013, over $35 million has been raised to support 102 fiction and nonfiction films through Catalyst.
Applications & Timeline
Catalyst applications are solicited by invitation only. When applying, you will be asked to upload your script (for fiction projects) or supply footage (for nonfiction projects), key team bios, budget total, financing raised and sought, production timeline, and links to previous work, among other key materials.
- March–May 2021—Application period
- July 2021—Projects selected
- July–September 2021—Filmmaker preparations
- September 2021—Catalyst Forum
- Details on team member(s) who are Sundance alumni
- Key team contact information & bios (~250 words each)
- Links to previous work (if applicable)
- Details on cast, key crew, lawyer, and sales agent attachments to date (and their most notable credits)
- Basic project information (title, logline, 500-750 word synopsis, project status, timeline)
- Budget details (total, full line-item budget, detailed breakdown of financing already raised)
- Short answer questions for both fiction and nonfiction submissions will ask for director's and producer's statements (~500-750 words each) as well as details on finance strategy, marketing and distribution strategy, and intended audience (~250 words each)
- Nonfiction only questions: summary of film topic (~500-750 words)
- Nonfiction only: Footage from submitted project (~5 minutes, 1-2 scenes, not a trailer/sizzle)
- Fiction only: Full script PDF upload
- Optional additional assets (e.g., deck) - no penalty if this is not included
- Finalists for the 2021 Catalyst Forum will be contacted for video interviews with the Catalyst team in July and may be required to submit additional materials, including details on basic film financing terms.